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Quantifying the recurring nature of fitout to assist LCA studies in office buildings

Perry Forsythe (School of Built Environment, Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia)

International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation

ISSN: 2398-4708

Article publication date: 10 July 2017

Issue publication date: 10 July 2017




The purpose of this paper is to quantify fitout churn in office buildings to more accurately evaluate the recurrent embodied energy in life cycle assessment studies.


Three research methods were used in the context of Central Business District (CBD) office buildings in Sydney. Method 1 involved leasing records from 528 office buildings; method 2, a leasing history from a selective sample of three prime grade office buildings; method 3, a targeted survey of 21 property professionals concerning fitout churn cycle estimates.


Prime buildings are the area of most interest to fitout churn because they represent a large proportion of total office floor area. The churn rate differs according to office tenancy type (as defined by small, medium and large leased areas). Large tenants occupy the majority of floor space. Lease duration as obtained from Method 1, offers a reasonable proxy for predicting fitout churn. Using this method coupled with weighted-average calculations, the data indicate a fitout churn rate of 8.2 years.

Research limitations/implications

Variability concerning the situational context of Sydney CBD office buildings restricts broad generalisability of the findings. However, the research method used in this study would enable broad-based comparison and the potential for verification.


The main contribution of the research is to improve the ability to accurately predict fitout churn cycles as previous work only involves limited case studies and arbitrary estimates, thus lacking a strong evidence based.



The author would like to gratefully thank the Better Buildings Partnership at Sydney City Council and Forest and Wood Products Australia for their assistance in undertaking this research.


Forsythe, P. (2017), "Quantifying the recurring nature of fitout to assist LCA studies in office buildings", International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation, Vol. 35 No. 3, pp. 233-246.



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